By the age of three, your child should have a healthier approach to food. He should no longer confuse food and love and doesn’t show his objection by refusing to eat. At this age, eating usually results mainly from hunger.
Your child might prefer certain foods more than others, and his eating habits might change daily. It is an appropriate behavior at this age and should not cause any worry. As long as he is not eating too much sweet, sour or fatty foods, you shouldn’t resist his preferences. If you feel his eating habits aren’t healthy, try exposing him to different and new flavors that he hasn’t tried.
It is important that healthy options will be set on the table at each meal. If he likes healthy foods, let him decide by himself what to eat, but if he is stubborn and won’t eat healthy options such as vegetables, you shouldn’t give up! Continue serving them each meal. At some point, he might change his mind and agree to try new things. You must remember that this is a critical time in which habits are determined for the long run, and it is preferable that these would be good and healthy habits for the years to come.
Food advertisements on TV are the enemy of healthy nutrition! Studies have shown that children who watch more than 22 hours of TV a week are at risk for obesity. Children at this age don’t know how to protect themselves from commercials and therefore candy advertisements are especially dangerous.
In conclusion, it is important that you will pay attention to your child’s eating habits at home and outside of it. Your influence on his health in the following years and for the rest of his life is tremendous!
Last updated: May 2017
Authors - Judah Freedman BA MED, Dr. Yair Sadaka MD Ph.D., paediatrician, Pediatric neurologist